The unemployment rate is a tool that economists and the Bureau of Labor Statistics use to track trends in the economy on a state and national level. The jobless rate measures the amount of unemployed people within the labor force as a whole. While the unemployment rate is an important calculation that is relied upon for economic indicators, it is important to understand that the figures measure unemployment in terms of those who are seeking employment actively or waiting to return to a job. That means that the jobless rate does not factor in individuals who are choose to not work like retirees, or those who are in school full-time or working in the home. These individuals are not considered to be an active part of the labor force. The way the jobless rates are measured are through surveys, one taken within the household, as well as one from data collected from businesses and agencies around the country. These survey results are tabulated on a month-to-month basis and analyzed accordingly. Government officials can use these figures to make adjustments to the state unemployment insurance program, as needed.
What is the unemployment rate in Oregon and how does it compare to the rest of the United States? The unemployment rate in Oregon, as of May 2017, was 3.6 percent. This is well under the national unemployment rate average of 4.3 percent, and significantly lower than the post-recession high of almost 12 percent. Oregon job growth has remained consistently steady over the past year, with an all-time low percentage in April 2017. In fact, the number of unemployed workers in Oregon is steadily decreasing. Comparatively speaking, there were over 160,000 fewer individuals unemployed versus less than a decade ago. Over the past year alone, non-farm payroll jobs have increased by almost 40,000.
However, despite the positive unemployment rate in Oregon, there are still many people left unemployed and seeking help. Unemployment insurance benefits are offered in every state for those who qualify for assistance. Eligibility requirements apply for all applicants, so it is important to understand the terms outlined by the state of Oregon prior to applying.